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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 21, 2012 1:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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uprising according to an opposition group. just today 60 people have died and cnn now has new pictures showing the syrian government's force. here are the vehicles outside of the hospital, they show them surrounding the building on two sides and this picture shows an intact bridge on the left. the bridge on the right, just three days later destroyed. >> time now for "the situation room" and mr. wolf blitzer. wolf! >> don, thanks very much. happening now, mitt romney and the etch-a-sketch. an off hand remark goes viral. new ammunition. >> a hezbollah threat in the united states. one u.s. lawmaker says it is right here in the u.s. and the possibility of an attack, he says, is real. and broken toilets turn a 13-hour flight into a two-day odyssey leaving hundreds of passengers trapped in alaska. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com major new backing and a brewing new controversy for the republican presidential candidate mitt romney. he's picked up one of the most sought-after endorsements of the campaign, but a remark by one of his top aides is now threatening to overshadow it. our national political correspondent jim acosta is with romney who is holding a town hall meeting outside baltimore. jim, what happened? >> reporter: wolf, as you just mentioned mitt romney is about to hold a town hall meeting just outside of baltimore. the maryland primary is coming up in about a week and a half, but mitt romney can take comfort in the fact that rick santorum's path to the nomination looks sketchy today, but as the romney campaign knows, this race for the gop nomination is not etched
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in stone. >> thank you. >> reporter: it was as if one of the biggest names in republican party politics was listening to mitt romney's call for unity after the illinois primary. >> join us. join us. >> about 12 hours later former florida governor jeb bush released a statement announcing his endorsement of romney. now is the time for republicans to unite behind governor romney, bush said, and take conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall, but bush's endorsement comes less than a month after he warned a crowd in texas the current republican field was alienating centrist voters. he summed it up this way to a local station. >> i think, though, it's important for the candidates to -- to recognize that they have to appeal to primary voters and not turn off independent voters that will be part for a winning coalition. >> attacks from bush's speech
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that day sounded more urgent. i used to be a conservative, bush said, and i watch these debates and i'm wondering i don't think i've changed but it's troebling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fear and emotion. bush's comments may be easier than what one of romney's longtime aides said on cnn's "starting point." whether the gop front-runner has tacked too far to the right to win the nomination. >> i think he hit a reset button for the fall campaign. it's almost like an etch-a-sketch. you shake it up and do it all over again. >> andrew kaczynski posted an etch-a-sketch on top of the romney car. they tweeted a picture of the pennsylvania senator doing his own etch-a-sketching. >> that should be comforting to all of you who were voting on this primary. the comments are a signal to voters that team romney plans to run as a blank slate in the
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fall. >> remove all trace of any kind of marks and be able to draw a new picture. maybe a picture like when he ran for governor of massachusetts not as a conservative. >> newt gingrich offered his own etch-a-sketch to a toddler in louisiana and said politics could be in her future. >> she could now be a presidential candidate. she has her very own etch-a-sketch. and the dnc piled on with a new web video that says there are some things you can't shake off. >> now this afternoon romney strategist sketched out a response to this controversy and here it is, quote, i was talking about the race, he says, as we move from the primary to the general election. the campaign changes. it's a different race with different candidates and a focus on different issues. that is not enough, obviously, for the santorum campaign. just before this event got started, wolf, santorum's press secretarialis stewart was hanged out these etch-a-sketches to
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reporters out in the parking lot. we all got one, wolf? >> a quick question about jeb bush. as soon as i heard the endorsement, major endorsement for mitt romney. my mind immediately raced to the possibility of a mitt romney/jeb bush ticket in the fall in the general election if romney does, in fact, get the nomination. what are they saying about that? >> reporter: they're not saying much about that kind of speculation this afternoon, wolf. mitt romney released a statement welcoming the news that jeb bush is endorsing their campaign, but it would be a potent ticket for the republican nomination and for the fall general election campaign. jeb bush coming from florida, that is a key swing state that president obama will likely have to hang on to in order to get reelected in the fall, but the question is going to be raised with putting the name bush on a republican ticket work out that well for the gop this time around and perhaps there might
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be some in the republican party to say better to wait for 2016. >> we'll see what happens. thanks very much. rick santorum is in louisiana this coming saturday. he's on the offensive showing no sign at all, despite trailing romney by more than 300 delegates. our senior correspondent, joe johns is out on the campaign trail. what's the latest over there? >> wolf, rick santorum arrived here in louisiana looking very much like a guy who is prepared to stick it out for quite a while. the santorum people are taking the position that this is basically halftime in the race with a long time to go and they say they're going keep going as long as mitt romney doesn't have the nomination locked up yet. >> leaving no doubt that he's still in the race for now, rick santorum arrived in harvey, louisiana, full of fight despite the thumping he'd just taken in illinois. at first, santorum was taking on
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president obama for his energy policies, claiming the moratorium on oil drilling after the deepwater horizon disaster that the administration actually lifted has been replaced by a reg each excessive administrative red tape. he's trying to connect with voters in a region where drilling means jobs. >> here in the gulf, the moratorium and of course, what we see in alaska, the continental shelf, federal lands increasingly trying to lock up federal lands so no minerals can be harvested from there. i'm not just talking oil, gas and coal, but a whole variety of different minerals. >> reporter: santorum was predicting a strong showing here in louisiana and still going after the republican front-runner with about the same amount of vigor he used to attack mitt romney for the illinois primary. >> he will say what he needs to say to win the election that's before him, and if he has to say something different because it's a different election and a different group of voters he's willing to say that, too. >> reporter: santorum was also
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looking ahead talking about mitt romney's health care plan in massachusetts which his campaign intends to highlight for similarities with the obama healthcare legislation that gets its hearing next week before the supreme court. i asked santorum about jeb bush's endorsement of mitt romney which he dismissed as establishment politics. >> do you think it is time for the republican party to sort of come together? >> i agree. they should all start supporting me because i'm a strong conservative candidate, and i'm hopeful as we've seen in every state all of the endorsers, the establishment, you know, who is comfortable with the status quo go with mitt romney and the folks who want to see the real changes going on in washington, d.c., support me, and i think that's what this vase comirace coming down to. all of the states are important to rick santorum, but perhaps the most important are his own
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home state of pennsylvania which he spent the night in last night and also in texas. in may, he's going to texas tomorrow, wolf. >> that will be a big battle in pennsylvania even though it is his home state i suspect the romney folks will try to win that state. joe johns for us, thanks very much. let's dig deeper with our political analyst gloria borger. the jeb bush endorsement of mitt romney. what does that say about where the overall primary season stands? >> it says that illinois was a very convincing win for mitt romney and what you're seeing is the establishment start to coalesce around mitt romney who they think is the likely nominee, but there aren't any more power brokers anymore, wolf, who can come in and say to the republicans, it's time to end this thing. let's get on with it and go to the convention all united. jeb bush can't do that. what we are really seeing is a contest that's not going to end with some kind of dramatic flourish, but you probably will
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see mitt romney crawl across the finish line in the end if he can get those 1144 delegates, but you will see a race and when santorum wins one and romney wins one, for example, in louisiana this saturday, likely that it's not going to be mitt romney and it could be santorum and it could be newt gingrich. then on april 3rd, maryland, wisconsin and d.c., maryland, probably romney, but wisconsin, who knows? if santorum could win wisconsin that would be a huge win for him and think, as joe was mentioning, april 24th you have pennsylvania which i would argue santorum absolutely needs to win. >> governor romney had a very impressive win in illinois, but he still had problems with some elements of that republican conservative base. among those folks who call themselves very conservative. they went for santorum, 49%, romney 36% and among those who describe themselves as born again, santorum 47%, romney,
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37%. so what can romney do about that? >> not much. i think the race has kind of established a pattern, and i think it is what it is. mitt romney is never going to convince evangelical voters who are skeptical of him. the most conservative voters who are skeptical of them and the most ardent tea party voters who are very skeptical of them to support them overwhelmingly. he did win people, the tea partiers in illinois last night. that was a part of his very large victory, but overall they're going to remain skeptical. what we call the base of the base. so in the end they're going to have to decide whether they want to defeat president obama enough that they would come out wholeheartedly, if he's the nominee as seems likely, and vote for him in the fall. it's not going to be because they're passionate about him. >> they're passionate about not voting for president obama. that could be the decisive element. gloria, thanks very much. so what about jeb bush for
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vice president? his endorsement of mitt romney is endorsing buzz about his slot on the gop ticket. plus, the obscure republican rule that could dramatically change the race for the white house. we'll talk about that. that's coming up in our strategy session. stay with us. [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world... ♪ ...northrop grumman's security solutions are invisibly at work, protecting people's lives... [ soldier ] move out! [ male announcer ] ...without their even knowing it. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. a living, breathing intelligence teaching data how to do more for business. [ beeping ] in here, data knows what to do. because the network finds it and tailors it across all the right points, automating all the right actions... [ beeping ]
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let's get right to jack cafferty for the cafferty file. >> it's just about over. while mitt romney didn't score a knockout in illinois, he landed enough blows that his opponents may be unable to answer the bell for the next round and it's a bit ironic, i suppose, the republican primary fight may have been decided in the democratic president's home state. romney's win was impressive, double digits and he won just about every exit poll category that was measured except for evangelicals and conservative voters. rick santorum's show thing on the other hand was far from impressive. he got little support beyond his base, but more importantly he
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showed again that he's incapable of winning a large midwestern state and there simply aren't enough louisianas, mississippis and alabamas to get him the nomination. newt gingrich finished dead last. he's gone from contender to curiosity to nobody cares. he's toast. ron paul who may have the bestside set of ideas for solving a lot of our big problems has never been able to connect with enough voters to make a difference. finally, if romney should go on to win the nomination, and i think he probably will, the republican voters would have settled for the moderate in the middle sort of what the vast majority of the country has always been about and his victory will be a slap in the face to the tea party. romney's now looking past these fights toward the big title bout in november, and the rest of the country, i think is starting to do the same. here's the question, was illinois the turning point in the republican race? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog or go to our post in "the situation
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room's" facebook page. wolf? >> thank you. twitter is blowing up with the etch-a-sketch comment made by a top romney campaign aide. you saw it here in jim acosta's report. let's discuss what's going on with the host of cnn's "reliable sources" howard kurtz and laren ashburn, the founder and editor in chief of daily download.com. thanks for coming in. you guys have a new venture that you'll be announcing shortly, but let's talk, howie, first of all, it's amazing how quickly when we said this morning on cnn has blown up. >> i watch cable news all of the time and i found out about this on twitter. suddenly everyone is commenting on it, it's trending. >> is it because etch-a-sketch, is it because everyone knows what etch a sketch is? >> more than light brite. >> it's an indelible image for the romney campaign because it makes it look like the
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principles can be shaken up like the children's game. >> but not indelible. >> it's amazing what's going on right now even compared to four years ago, the social media situation has dramatically changed politics. >> you know, president obama was the ringleader when it came to social media and engaging those young voters. he's still the king. he has 25 million likes on his facebook page. he released a documentary 17 minutes long only online. you actually had to sign in, give an e-mail address so that they then had that and could engage you outside of facebook. anybody could go on twitter and they had a following and who did you see tweeting about the whole etch a sketch controversy. eva longoria tweeted arianna huffington and i love etch-a-sketch. did you see the one with the dog on the etch-a-sketch? it will be bigger than the dog con troer havy. >> i don't know if it will last that long, but even the dnc wasted no time.
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they're not always the fast nest reacting, but they had this. i'll play a little clip. >> if i were elected and congress were to pass the dream act would i veto it and the answer is yes. planned parenthood. i'll get rid of that. i was a severely conservative republican governor. ♪ ♪ >> the question is, it has a few hours' life right now, but how long does an etch-a-sketch comment like that will last? >> i do think it will last a very long time. someone tweeted which was so funny. they said -- not funny that he died, but romney when he dies the first paragraph of his o witch waere will be etch-a-sketch. >> and you are tapping into the whole social media adventure.
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>> we've been tracking this on daily download and the campaign has conducted a lot of sniping and online warfare through media like twitter. they exchange snarky e-mails and people chime in and it's become -- i think twitter is the new a.p., wolf, it's a whole new conversation that takes place in addition to newspapers and magazines and that's why something like this can become a trending topic in just a few hours because it taps into the cultural mainstream in a way that pure political coverage doesn't always do. >> and in "usa today," a very big media company, we decided we wanted to start daily download to really take a look at what's happening on the internet, how mainstream media companies are adapting to the internet, whether or not newspapers in print will be able to make the jump and how that's affecting that. >> i follow what mitt romney does and sometimes his campaign pushes back at journalists who are on twitter and they get an advanced look at what they'll be writing. >> what about ann romney? ann romney is on pinterest.
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>> you're obsessed with it. >> it's where you put all of these pictures together that you leak. you can say this is my flower page or this is my mitt romney page. >> 10 million users on pinterest. >> good luck with the new venture. thanks. howie kurt, you can be seen every sunday morning at l11:00 a.m. eastern on "reliable sources." jeb bush, the former florida governor has announced his pick in the race for the nomination. does have his sights set on the number two spot in the ticket? we'll discuss in our strategy session. also, a plane bound for china gets diverted for two days. we'll have the details of the nightmare that unfolded.
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>> i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." here are some of the stories we're working on for the next hour. anti-american sentiment running rampant in hezbollah. does the pro-iran group pose a real, genuine terror threat right here on u.s. soil? stand by. >> in france, the standoff goes on with an accused mass killer who says he wants to bring the country to its knees. we are learning more about a man driven by vengeance. and coach sean payton
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suspended. a very hefty fine and more. the nfl deals harsh punishment to the new orleans saints for a so-called bounty on opposing players. stand by. we're in "the situation room." >> all right. let's get right to our strategy session. joining us our cnn political contributor maria cardona along with rich galen. guy, thank you very much for coming in. jeb bush, popular governor of florida, endorsing mitt romney saying primary elections had been held in 34 states and now is the time for republicans to unite behind governor romney and take our message of fiscal conservatism and job creation to all voters this fall. is it at all realistic, do you think, to think that a romney-bush ticket in the fall is possible? >> any of these are possible. we were talking about them in the green room before. the great thing about running for vp is it's a ten-week sprint
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and if you win, you get a house. you get a car and you get your own airplane, but for these governors and ex-governors it's a great gig if they want to do it. the great thing about the campaign is they don't have to make that decision for another 60 or 71 days. >> we remember how important it could be, but, you know, for the democrats, jeb bush is very popular in florida, popular with hispanics, speaks spanish. he would do a lot in making sure florida would be in mitt romney's corner if in fact, he were on the ticket. >> there's no question that this is good news for mitt romney. jeb bush is seen as a heavy weight politically as well as substantively which is something mitt romney desperately needs. jeb bush up until now has had major credibility with the hispanic community not just in florida, but i think nationally. >> republicans need hispanic support. >> i have to say when you are --
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when you are supporting someone like mitt romney who has criscobatch, the author of the arizona sb 1070 law, when you have pete wilson as your adviser, another one in the hispanic community, when you seek the support of sheriff arpaio, the most anti-immigrant sheriff in the country, not even jeb bush will be able to help you. >> you can get the etch-a-sketch, shake it up. >> richard nixon used to say when you run for the republican nomination you run to the right and when you get the nomination, you run back to the center. >> it's like someone invented a whole new strategy that none of us have heard before. when you get the general, you run to the middle. >> right now with social media, you were just talking about it earlier, everybody has really long memories. people are not stupid. hispanics are not stupid. we will remember. >> i remember when you used to work for newt gingrich. you remember him, right? >> i do. >> he's running for president of
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the united states. >> i don't know if he still is. >> there is a rule. it's rule 40b that says -- basically says if you haven't won the plurality of delegates in five states your name can't be put up for consideration at the republican convention in tampa in the end of august. i'll read you the rules. each candidate for nomination of president for the united states and vice president of the united states shall demonstrate the support of the plurality of the delegates from each of five or more states prior to the presentation for the candidate for nomination. he's won two states. can he get three more so that his name can even be put up if romney doesn't get 1,144 delegates. that rule is one of the least of newt gingrich's problems in terms of the nomination? >> do you think he'll come to a contested convention? >> do you think that santorum and gingrich and ron paul can deny mitt romney 1,144? >> i do not. i think as we move through this
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thing -- i think last night was a big deal. you talked about it last night, everyone on the panel, was there a huge win, and i think everybody at least, we in washington, inside the beltway, who we are establishment and we happen to do this for a living so we sort of know what goes on. >> do you think it's over as far as from the democratic perspective, just assuming that rom neil be the nom. >>? >> i think people assume that, but every time we assume something that political process has tipped it on its head. mitt romney has issues in trying to track the vote of the most conservative tea partiers and those looking for moral character as one of the main issues and santorum still has a chance in the upcoming primaries. he also has to put more states on the board, but is it over? we'll see. >> that doesn't mean you have to win all of the states. even barack obama didn't win them all even after he was going
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to be the nominee. to your point, maria, for a lot of conservatives mitt romney may not be their first choice, but obama has been the last choice. >> if it will be a decision whether to vote for mitt romney for a lot of tea party voters and conservatives or stay home and allow the president to be releched. >> right. >> romney's main problem is with independents, hispanics, women. >> he ran for president of puerto rico. he didn't have a single supporter. >> in that statement he very carefully inserted the word fiscal conservative. >> he should run for president of puerto rico if he thinks all of those votes will help him with the hispanic community. >> we now know whose jersey hool be wearing. stand by. and a fiery gas station crash caught on tape. what happened to the driver of this jeep. plus, the tax scam so big the irs can't even keep track of it.
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we now i think know where tim tebow will be next season. mary snow is monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room" right now. what's going on, mary? >> hi there, wolf. quarterback tim tebow will be swapping his denver broncos jersey for the green and white of the new york jets. the jets announced today that they've agreed with a trade for the broncos for tebow one day after he was displaced by superstar peyton manning. in what was one of last season's cinderella stories, tebow led denver to the playoffs. he will backup mark sanchez who signed three-year contract extension this month. >> fuel prices just keep rising. aaa says the national average price of a gallon of unleaded
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regular went up almost 3 senns to $3.86. that's the 12th straight increase. aaa reports the highest prices are in hawaii, the lowest in wyoming. gas prices are up almost 18% so far this year. some of the top online dating services have entered into an agreement aimed at screening out sexual predators. match.com, eharmony and the parent company of jdate and christian mingle issued a joint statement of principles aimed at better protecting their members. they include checking subscribers against sex offender registries. a match.com client was raped on a date with a repeat sex offe offend offender. take a look at this dramatic surveillance video. a jeep rolls into a chevron gas station and keeps right on rolling into one of the pumps and the pump and the car exploded into flames and firefighters rushed to the scene to put out the fire. the jeep was completely charred. fortunately, the driver was
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unhurt. wolf? >> one update, though, on the tim tebow, debber have broncos new york jets trade or at least the supposed trade. espn.com now reporting that there could be some contract glitches out there that could either delay or prevent this trade from going forward. so stand by, we'll update our viewers and see what happens and maybe not so fast for tim tebow going from denver to new york. that's where you are. we'll check it out and we'll get back to everyone. >> meanwhile, back from the war and out of control. we'll hear from a former service member now accused of murder. cnn's erin burnett looks at the problems with post-traumatic stress disorder. stand by. just ahead, a cnn exclusive. are you potentially the next victim? randi kaye investigates tax refund theft, get this, in the billions of dollars. >> can you tell me if you know anything about identity theft happening around here? >> i don't know nothing about it. >> are you involved in any of the tax fraud? >> i don't know nothing.
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>> so imagine filing your income taxes only to be told that someone else has already done it and they've received your
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refund. it's fraud so big even the irs doesn't know how much money is at stake right now. law enforcement says it's in the billions of dollars. that's with a "b." for the first time in our exclusive investigation you are about to see the fraud unfold in florida where in some neighborhoods it's become an actual way of life. here's cnn's randi kaye. >> reporter: we've just rolled up on what police say is evidence of one of the biggest and easiest frauds in america to pull off. a crime hidden on a piece of plastic. a debit card. >> he's got the cards, he just purchased them, it looks like. >> those debit cards, police say, are used to take advantage of fast tax refunds from the irs. here's how it works. the thieves are still stealing refunds from stealing social security numbers from doctors office's and even car dealerships. any place where you have to give
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your personal information. they then use the stolen information to go online and file a tax return, making up the income the person earned for the year. the irs then puts the refund money on a debit card purchased by the thieves. >> so this is what they're buying. see? green dot money cards, target. with the target and he spent 600 bucks and he paid with a debit card. >> i'm just curious what you do for work that you drive such a fancy car. >> i don't know nothing about that. >> you don't know nothing about that? >> can you tell me if you know anything about identity theft happening around here? >> i don't know about that. >> are you involved in any of the tax fraud? >> i don't know nothing about nothing. >> the north miami beach florida police department will later charge him with buying these gift cards with stolen tax return money. >> how easy is it to do this? >> the fraud is so easy it's like the federal government
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putting crack cocaine in candy machines. it's that easy. >> the criminals cash in those debit cards as quickly as possible, showing off their riches with expensive luxury cars. they flaunt fancy watches, diamond pendants worth $55,000 and other jewelry. this one inscribed with the words "money hungry." >> just a few hundred miles north up in tampa, police estimate the fraud approaches a staggering half billion dollars in the last two years. >> that's over 2,000 in cash. >> just one example of what is happening nationwide. police chief jane caster says the irs efforts to curtail it aren't working. >> i don't think that i have ever seen this magnitude of fraud that is just wide open. it's wide open and it just
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doesn't seem to be much being done about it. >> for its part, the irs identified $6.5 billion in tax refund fraud related to identity theft last year. >> i'd like to hear the other side of that equation, too and an estimation of how much got through. that's what we wanted to know, too. just how much fraud has gone undetected? after weeks of asking, the irs' deputy commissioner beth tucker couldn't give us an answer. >> so just to be clear, you can tell us how much has been caught, but the irs can't say how much of this fraudulent money has ended up in criminals' hands. >> we process 140 million tax returns at irs on a given year. we're doing a balancing act because one thing we want to do is get refunds out to the hands of legitimate taxpayers as quickly as possible and with as little intrusion, but for the actual size of the problem, you probably need to get back to you with a number.
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law enforcement tells us there's a simple solution to curbing much of the fraud. don't allow the refunds to be put on debit cards. >> why hasn't the irs stopped that? >> not every taxpayer has a bank account, and so the debit cards that are issued by a third-party provider are a legitimate way for taxpayers to get their refund. >> pretty shocking information. the man, by the way, that you saw being arrested and charged with the marijuana possession and grand theft. he has not yet entered a plea to either charge. police say the victim in the case had her purse stolen, so that's how her personal information was obtained and cnn will have much more on this investigation sunday night 8:00 p.m. eastern as part of our "cnn presents." be very, very careful releasing to anyone your social security number, just really, really careful especially this time of the year.
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>> a u.s. soldier's alleged massacre of afghan civilians is calling new attention to post traumatic stress disorder and soldiers and their families were suffering long before there was such a diagnosis. erin burnett is digging deeper into a stabbing death from three years ago. tell our viewers what you're learning. >> it's pretty amazing. wolf, we talk about the sergeant bales' story, 20% of soldiers that come back from iraq and afghanistan are suffering from ptsd. is it possible that he could have massacred 16 people? could ptsd explain that? the jury is still out. the story we talked about is gary holsy, he served three years in vietnam between 1965 and 1970, came back to the united states and tried to live a normal life and in 1978 he had been married for three weeks when this happened. >> the last i remember about 10:00 i woke up and she was in
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bed next to me, and the knife i kept under my pillow, and i kept a combat knife under my pillow and it was stuck in her chest and i called the authorities. >> it's an incredible story, wolf, and a very sad one. he kept his knife every night under his pillow, killed his wife. served nearly nine years in prison and it was after all of that time in the mid-90s when he got diagnosed with ptsd. ee is now out of jail and he's a city councilman in his town and been married for 25 years and we have his full story as the nation comes to grips with what ptsd is and what it can do to people who otherwise were very good people and solid members of their community. that exclusive story tonight. >> when you think more than a million men and women have served in the past ten years in iraq and afghanistan in the u.s. military and the potential for this problem, enormous out
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there. i'm really glad, erin, that you're doing this story. i think it will educate a lot of our viewers. i appreciate it very much. >> used car dealerships allegedly laundering money for iranian-backed terrorives in the united states. that's coming up in the next hour. >> plusec broen toilets turn a flight to china into an unexpected odyssey in alaska. we have one in which passengers are calling the flight from hell. ♪
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here's a look at some of the other political headlines making news on the cnn political ticker. the little rock arkansas municipal airport commission has voted to rename the international airport after bill and hillary clinton. other airports have been named after former u.s. presidents, but this is the first time a first lady has been included in the title. mrs. clinton was former senator? currently serves as secretary of state. the change will take effect in the coming months. congratulations to both of them.
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presidential contender ron paul decided to forego a speech after the illinois republican primaries yesterday for an appearance on late-night television. he told jay leno why he skipped secret service protection. >> well, it's a form of welfare, you know. you're having the taxpayers pay to take care of someone. i'm an ordinary citizen, and i would think i should pay for my own protection, and it costs more than $50,000 a day. >> is that what it is? >> that's a lot of money. >>'s principled man, indeed. the incident followed a "gq" report that mitt romney and rick santorum go by petris and his code name should be bulldog. his name may be german, but there's some irish on his mom's side. maybe that's why the house speaker john boehner got visibly choked up during a capitol hill
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luncheon yesterday with president barack obama and the irish prime minister and also featured traditional irish music which also seemed to further trigger boehner's emotions. >> for complete political coverage any time, please be sure to read the ticker on cnn politics.com. jack's back once again with the cafferty file. jack? >> question this hour -- here we are. the question this hour, was illinois the turning point in the republican race? james in north carolina, yes, jack, that was it. we built it up to a crescendo and now we have a can at and we had newt and rick to shine a few more minutes. it's all about the show. you sell the sizzle, not the stake. the turning point is when rick santorum said he didn't care about the unemployment rate. he handed over the nomination at this moment. >> it was a turning point in my stomach, the thought of romney
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wing the nomination is sickening. riley in seattle, the republican race for the presidential nomination has had more turning points than a pock pine dancing a jig, bachmann, perry, cain, santorum all had their fling, gingrich twice. makes no matter. now that jeb bush has come out for romney, the jig is up. it's romney's to lose come november. it's a turning point and probably for the best if you're a republican. now the republicans, independents and disgruntled democrats can turn their attention and energy to the real problem in this country, obama. no, there are a lot of evangelicals left in the remaining states to keep romney from his ultimate goal to be president. then sarah palin can come in and save the day at their convention without having to work for it. it's a grifter's dream come true. >> i hope so. i'm exhausted and it's only halftime. go to my blog cnn./caffertyfile
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or the facebook page. congress is trying to sort out if there's a clear and present danger from pro-iranian terrorists right here on u.s. soil. also, why the trial may begin in dozens of used car lots trail -- i should say, the trail might begin in used car lots across the country. a long journey to china stalled. there you see the plane. you will see what happened to stranded passengers who had to deal with enormous problems in alaska. [ man ] hmm. a lot can happen in two hundred thousand miles...
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at meineke i have options... like oil changes starting at $19.95. my money. my choice. my meineke. >> passengers onboard a united airlines flight from san francisco to shanghai, china, were prepared for a 13-hour journey, but no one could have known that it would be interrupted by a two-day layover, a nightmare that happened in alaska. our aviation and regulation correspondent lizzie o'leary has the details of this odyssey. lizzie? >> wolf, it began on sunday. united flight 857 was three hours into its flight to shanghai when the captain announced the lavatories weren't working and the flight would divert to anchorage, alaska, for repairs. what passengers assumed routine
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maintenance, 90 minutes on the tarmac and they would be sent to a hotel overnight and, and all 262 passengers mobbed the terminal at 11:00 p.m. at night. >> it was just one thing after the other. it was honestly unbelievable. we couldn't believe it. it definitely was the flight from hell been about 300 of us and we were kind of in a mob in the north terminal and we walked over to the south terminal and all of the united officials seemed to conveniently disappear and we couldn't find anybody to help us. there was no one there working the united counter. >> the next day the passengers bored a new plane they thought would be their savior and that plane had the trouble, too. the passengers stayed on for another night. >> there was no communication. the fact that they wouldn't give us our luggage after it had been almost three days is ridiculous. the fact that they weren't letting people change their clothes and get their medications, et cetera.
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>> on day three she opted for a red-eye home having missed her meetings in china and her luggage went on without her. they sent us a statement that reads in part, we sincerely apologize to our customers and fully refunding their tickets. we are actively reaching out to customers to offer additional compensation. none of these things violate the passenger bill of rights or the airline contrasts. >> lizzie o'leary, thank you. >> and you're in "the situation room," happening now, a new warning that the terrorists has hundreds, maybe thousands of agents here in the united states. this hour, the growing threat of an attack by a group considered more sophisticated than al qaeda. >> spreading protests over the killing of an unarmed teenager in florida. stand by for the interview with the parents of the teenager trayvon martin. it's being called a historic
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punishment againsta know nfl team. the new orleans saints are paying a big price for rewarding players for hurting their opponents. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." first this hour, a terrifying new reason for all of us to be potentially very worried about u.s. tensions with iran? the chairman of the house homeland security officials are warning that iran has a force here in the united states right now. there may be hundreds, maybe even thousands of hezbollah agents on american soil who could be ready and willing to attack. brian todd has been following this hearing on capitol hill and he's watching what's going on and pretty shocking information.
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if true, brian, what's happening? >> very important testimony in congress. current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials saying many of hez mra's operatives have been in the u.s. for years, blending in, making a lot of money. a perfect resource for iran if it's attacked and wants a quick counter strike on the u.s. homeland. >> it's called iran's a-team of terrorism. hezbollah, a militant group that's killed more americans than any other except al qaeda. with concerns about how iran might retaliate if israel bombs its nuclear installations, current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials tell congress they've got new worries that iran can tap into hezbollah sympathizers and operatives who have been in the u.s. for years, lying low and have them strike on u.s. soil. >> there's sophistication, presence and deep entrenchment in american society and business has the potential to provide a platform to support a more lethal capability that should be of concern to more americans.
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>> the experts told a house panel that hezbollah could have hundreds of operatives inside nuz dozens of cities. they take part in legitimate businesses and also engage in drug running, cigarette smuggling and money laundering using fronts like restaurants. one recent case which cnn reported on showed their sophistication. >> there were over 70 used car dealerships that were identified as part of the money laundering scheme for laundering the hundreds of millions of dollars of -- of cocaine j-generated revenue, much of which was tracked back to hezbollah. >> these experts say if provoked iran and hezbollah have the capability of hatching a plot at any moment inside the u.s. >> i spoke with former fbi assistant director tom fuentes, a cnn contributor about that. >> that doesn't necessarily translate into an attack on the u.s. homeland, correct? >> correct. it means they could do it if they wanted to, but there's really no good reason to do it
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and many reasons from their point of view not to do it. >> reporter: why not? >> one is the united states is a cash cow for them. why kill it? why cut off the funding stream that they've gotten very good at, conducting criminal activity here, smuggling activities and other schemes and scams. one expert pointed out hezbollah has never carried out an attack inside the united states, but the fbi says they have staked out potential targets in this country, wolf. very worrying. >> what kind of cases have u.s. law enforcement agents had -- >> one law enforcement official tells cnn the cases they've been able to build against them involve things like fund raising, attempts to buy weapons, but no actual plot, but still it's the infrastructure in the united states that scares people. they have people involved in businesses here. many of which seem legitimate and some that are legitimate and they're able to funnel it back to hezbollah and these are the people who they can employ to buy weapons quickly in the
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united states. >> this was the worrying that the chairman of this committee held and. >> he had one current new york police department counterterrorism official there and several former fbi and other officials there. it was startling testimony and these were people that followed these cases and they know about hezbollah and the united states. >> this used car dealership issue is something that came up as you remember with the alleged iranian assassination plot and the saudi ambassador and the man accused of that was involved in the used car dealership. they used car dealerships and there was one criminal complaint just in december just after that plot was announced that dealed a very sophisticated operation involving drug running, the proceeds of drug running funneling through this used car dealership and funneling some of that money back to hezbollah. the sophistication is almost breathtaking that these guys have. >> thanks very much. stay on top of it for us. thank you. now to the standoff with the
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terror suspect that's unfolding right now. the man claims responsibility for the deadly shooting sprees in france. he's been holed up in an apartment now for more than 18 hours. he's surrounded by french police. we are learning more about him, his travels and his deadly plan to supposedly, quote, bring france to its knees. let's bring in cnn terrorism analyst paul crookshank. paul, the suggestion is that this individual's actually, what? a member of al qaeda, affiliated with al qaeda, trained by al qaeda, is that right? >> well, what he's saying, wolf, is that he was trained by al qaeda in the afghanistan-pakistan border region. specifically in waziristan, we've seen a number of plots against the west in recent years likage bulla zazi, for example. bin laden in one of the very last statements before his death
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called for attacks against french troops. well this individual has attacked french troops in france. it's possible that he's acting on al qaeda's orders and it's also possible that he's trained by al qaeda over there, wolf. >> he's supposedly a member of a group called knights of glory. is that a group directly affiliated with al qaeda? the individual named mohammed merah. >> that group is more a cheerleading group for al qaeda in france with no direct ties to the al qaeda organization. it's been involved in demonstrations in france, in sort of flash mob events like the airline. so it's not an organization with direct ties to al qaeda, but it's an organization that was banned in january of this year because of its radical views and also because it was seen as encouraging individuals in france with going to afghanistan and wage jihad, wolf.
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>> this shooting spree going on in toulouse, in the south of france, the killings over at a jewish school, some french paratroopers and soldiers who were killed. i guess it's not exactly accurate to describe this individual as a so-called lone wolf if in fact he was trained in afghanistan and is a fill jited with this al qaeda-related group. >> that's absolutely right, if he did train with al qaeda with regard to that, then he would be a lone wolf terrorist and he'd be acting bio behalf of al qaeda or encouraged by al qaeda. weave seen a number of cases in the west of this, and there have been a significant numbers of europeans and americans who have gone to the pakistan border and received training there. there are 200 europeans with links with jihadist groups and there's concern about the danger
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emanating from western militants going into the afghanistan-pakistan border region, getting training and coming back, wolf? >> hold on for a moment because diana magnay is on the scene in toulouse right now. she's joining us on the phone. what is happening right now? update our viewers, diana. >> reporter: hi, wolf. it's difficult to say what is happening right now, but we have been talking to one of the toulouse police spokesman and he's been walking us through the steps of the raid, and a nighttime operation the lights will go off and then police will flood the area with lights and throw in some kind of stun gun, a stun grenade and then move in and the lights have been off for some time now so we can only assume given the extensive police, but the police are trying to do something fairly soon. he may hand himself over and
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that doesn't seem to have happened and the operation like this becomes much more complicated at northeast and we hope to bring it to a conclusion. we were at some point in the next few hours, wolf? >> we are seeing flashing lights go off and these are live pictures into "the situation room" from toulouse, france. in the darkness you can see some lights going on, and right now we have no idea as you pointed out if an operation is under way, but negotiations with this individual, mohammed merah, they've been going on for 18 hours, is that right? >> 18 hours, yes. an incredible amount of time. it started at 3:00 a.m. move and the heavily-armed, following them with semi-automatic rife atting and we have alex's video from that raid and it was
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shooting back. he is heavily armed, police say, two policemen injured in that initial raid. over the course of the day they've been having, i wouldn't be having negotiations, wolf. i call them more discussions, that the police describe the suspect was extremely determined and extremely stubborn. what is his associations toal cade. it's made it clear that he is not a martyr. he doesn't want to commit suicide. it seems that he wants to raise attention to these issues and that he certainly has achieved. now it seems to be a question of sitting out until heerth he hands himself over or the police can storm him again, but they say that he is heavily armed. they believe he has a kalashnikov and an oozie alongside other weapons.
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>> we are showing our viewers these live pictures. what is he saying? why did he decide to go to the toulouse school and kill the little students and the teacher and why did he want to kill the french paratroopers? what is his motivation? what is he saying? >> killing those children in age between 3 and 8 was to avenge the deaths of plan children. we were ready to prove strons's power troop%, and also a sort of indication of the treasury that they were displaying and this was something that nicolas sarkozy, the president, responded to at a memorial service for those paratreerps today saying whatever your creed or color in this country, we are all united against this man, and it is this unity that will win
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against this kind of terror, wolf. >> so this situation could be coming to a head. we want to point out to our viewers, these are live pictures coming in from toulouse. paul is watching this situation unfold. >> as you hear diana's account of what's going on right now. weigh in. give us some perspective. wolf, the longer this goes on with the bigger propaganda victory for al qaeda if it is indeed behind this, this individual, from all we're hearing is a very radicalized individual. he has no regrets right now. just to give you the sort of idea he was doing when he returned to pakistan before going to france. he was watching beheading videos in his apartment. this is someone who is extremely radicalized and clearly felt able to kill children, and as long as he holds out here, wolf,
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he's getting more and more media attention around the world, more and more propaganda. >> diana you are there in toulouse. the police want to capture him alive right now. they don't want more dead people to result, but you say he's heavily armed with weapons, isn't that right? >> yes, he has a kalashnikov and an oozie with him, and he told police there was a carloaded with weapons and told them where it was park sxind deed that's where it was. we don't know if he had more weapons with him, and in a strange twist today he threw a cult pistol, reportedly an exchange, but it was the same weapon that was used over the last like berlins a knows what'
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been killing those victims and he said very sinisterly to police over the course of the day that he had intended to take more victims. that he would have gone out today and tried to target more soldiers or more policemen. that was his intention. >> and i just want to alert our viewers in the united states and around the world, you're looking at these live pictures from toulouse, france, the negotiations with the man who told police he killed those jewish students at that jewish school in toulouse, france. he killed the french paratroopers as well. he's holed up in an apartment building. he's well armed with kalashnikov and an oozie sub machine gun. maybe he has other weapons as well. diane a as we launch the live pictures and see local law enforcement and police moving. i don't know what they're
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getting ready to do, but it's been 18 hours since they've been negotiated with him. we're watching all of this unfold. does he have any indication or accomplices or support in the local community? >> we do we have been told by the chief prosecutor in paris that he was acting as a single individual in this case. they have a huge operation undergoing right now. there are about 300 police officers involved and police officers circling the house over the course of the day and they've been monitoring every move inside that house using infrared technology and they know what he's doing and where he is to a certain extent. i've been talking to a lot of people on the street. a lot of residents of this fairly quiet neighborhood which is three kilometers away from this school. a lot of member from the muslim
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community who were shocked and horrified that the killer, the serial killer who has terrorized over the ten days should be a muslim and should be a jihadist. they say this casts such a bad light on our community and may tarnish the way we're perceived in french society. something that the french president was responded to in that court. >> stand by, we are going to be getting back to you. we heard police silence, movement and flashes. we're watching the breaking news unfolding in toulouse, france, right now. we're also watching other important news unfolding including president obama. he's trying to prove his republican opponents are all wrong when they blame him for rising gas prizes, but will big oil companies get the last word? >> and newly released satellite photos are giving us
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unprecedented looks at syrian forces and the government's brutal crackdown. and the nfl sweeping punishment of the new orleans saints leaves the quarterback drew brees speechless. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands
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could help improve your lung function. get your first full prescription free and save on refills at advaircopd.com. >> right back to jack for "the cafferty file." when you think of the dangers facing this country's national security, things like al qaeda, china, afghanistan, and a ticking time bomb in iran and these might all come to mind and one thing that might not come to mind at first is our schools. public education is failing to do the job of educating our kids and that poses a grave danger to the long-term security of this nation. an independent task force launched by the council of foreign relations is warning the u.s. education system is barreling toward, quote, a national security crisis, unquote. the chairs of the report, former new york city school chancellor
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joel klein and condoleezza rice, former secretary of state under president george w. bush both sayedcation failures pose threats to our national security, these include economic growth and competitive, safety and intellectual property. our students are not being prepared for the global workforce. the report highlights a stunning defense department statistic. 75% of american youth don't qualify for our armed forces because of a lack of a high school diploma, obesity or a criminal record. three-fourths of our kids don't qualify to get in our own military, and among those who do, 30% can't pass the military aptitude test. if we don't educate our young people so they can compete, we're doomed. the task force recommends something called the national security readiness audit is one way to hold kids accountable. not everyone agrees in this report, but it is no secret that the quality of our public education has been in decline
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for quite some time now. here's the question, is the decline of american schools putting national security at risk? go to cnn.com/caffertyfile. post a comment on my blog or go to our post on "the situation room's" facebook page. 75% of our kids, wolf, can't qualify to get in our armed forces. >> it's shocking. it's horrible. >> terrible. >> i hate that. >> all right, jack. we've got a lot of work to do, all of us. the mother of a slain teenager in florida talks about hearing her son's voice in a chilling 911 call. we have more backlash against the shooter in this racially charged case. also we're continuing to watch the breaking news and the standoff unfolding right now. police are on the scene, a shoot be suspect in toulouse, france. you're looking at pictures right now from toulouse france, and we're watching what's going on as the suspect remains inside an apartment heavily armed. it's been 18 hours of negotiations and president obama
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killing of an unarmed teenager by a neighborhood watch captain in florida, but protests are set to begin in new york city at the top of the hour. the naacp is calling for the staff of sanford florida police chief to resign because the shooter has not yet been arrested. cnn's john zarrella is in sanford. there's new information, john, about why the shooter in this particular case george zimmerman hasn't been charged. what are you learning? jo that's exactly right, wolf. what we're learning is on the city's website today the police chief answered questions put to him by the city manager, questions that city manager said were being commonly asked by the
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people. amongst them, why wasn't george zimmerman arrested? and the police chief responded that under florida law, the officers were prevened from arresting zimmerman because he claimed self-defense. on what grounds did zimmerman claim self-defense? we're learning in this question and answer, the police chief wrote that, quote, zirmman's statement was that he lost sight of trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by trayvon. of course, that was after he placed the phone call to 911 that there was this young man in the neighborhood and that he was following trayvon. now, on his show "anderson," anderson cooper spoke to two women when live in the neighborhood and spoke to
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trayvon's parents. >> when you both went outside you saw george zimmerman where and where was trayvon martin? >> she was out the door first. when i came out the door i saw him basically straddling him. he had, you know, feet on either side of his body and his hands, at the time i didn't know, was on his back. >> trayvon was faced down. trayvon was faced down. once he got off of the body we could see that his face was down in the grass. so at the time that he was holding his back i didn't know if he was trying to help him or the wound or -- someone had asked him several times, three times, what's going on? is everything okay? and each time he looked back, but he didn't say anything until the third time he just said just call the police. >> the eyewitnesses have said
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they believe, this some of them believe it was your son calling out for help. no one saw him directly doing it or saw -- could say 100% for sure. you've heard the 911 where you hear someone calling out help. do you believe that is your son's voice? >> yes, i do. i believe that's trayvon martin. that's my baby's voice. every mother knows their child and that's his voice. >> if that's true and he called out for help, what does that tell you? >> he was afraid for his life. he saw his death coming. he saw his death coming. the screams got more franticer, and at that second that we heard the shot, the screams just completely stopped. he saw his death. he was pleading for his life. >> so you were saying if it was
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zimmerman who was screaming for help that might have continued after the shot, the fact that after the shot there was no more screaming for help. >> no more screaming whatsoever and it went completely silent. >> reporter: behind me here at city hall, a special meeting going in city council. they're discussing moving next week's regularly scheduled city council meeting to the convention center which seats 600 people because they believe they'll have a huge crowd there to hear what's being discussed, to hear what's happening, what the latest is and what's going to be done and they think they need that larger venue, because they expect, wolf, all 600 seats will be filled. wolf? >> john zarrella on the scene. i want to dig deeper now with our legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, sunny hostin. you're in new york and you had a chance to meet with trayvon's
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parents today. what was your impression? >> i felt, wolf, that they were so strong in the face of this tragedy, and in particular his mother is doing as best she can. she really is just holding on and what struck me is that both parents told me that they don't want retribution. they're not looking for an eye for an eye. they're just looking for justice. they're looking for an arrest. so a very strong family who i think kudos really goes out to them because they have had to become their own investigative team in trying to bring this story to us all. >> and you also met with two of these eyewitnesses. what was your impression on what they said to you? >> you know, i thought that it was reamericaable that they are saying the same thing over and over again, and in particular, they felt that they were being sort of misquoted by the police. mary, in particular, told me,
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wolf, that she called the investigators over and over and over again and left a message for the chief investigator in this case and that her call was not returned, and so she has been very forthcoming and sort of wanting to give her story, wanting to tell the officers what she saw, and she felt that she didn't get much of a response from law enforcement in florida. >> this is what i don't understand, sunny. you have eyewitnesses and the sanford police department and they're not questioning them in depth on a case of this magnitude, the life of an individual involved? >> it is remarkable, and as a former prosecutor, wolf, i've handled investigations and this is just odd that in a shooting death of an unarmed teenager that leads don't appear to have been followed. my understanding is that the girl that was speaking to trayvon martin on the phone for minutes before this whole alter kaying has not yet been interviewed by the police. that is what the marten family
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attorney told me. i thought that was remarkable. i think it is also remarkable that their attorney told me that george zimmerman was not tested for drug and alcohol. he was allowed to leave the police station, wolf, with the very clothes on that he had that night. so any forensic evidence that may have been on his clothing to help or harm him, in fact, is just not there any longer. so this, in my view, as a former prosecutor just doesn't seem to have been investigated in the way that the shooting death of an unarmed individual would be investigated. i think what's also remarkable is that the police as john just mentioned said that they were prohibited from making an arrest. that just doesn't sound right because the standard is probable cause, the police would have to make the determination as to whether or not probable cause existed to arrest. for them to say that they were prohibited by law is pretty dis disingenuous. >> it sounds on the surface that
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there's no serious investigation by the sanford police department. it's fully understandable why the justice department in washington is now getting involved and other you are groos are getting involved. i don't understand where the local police have been over these past several days, this case causing outrage not only across the united states, but indeed around the world. >> sunny, stay in close touch with us. we'll stay on top of this story. appreciate it very much. >> thanks, wolf. so when you pay money to hurt other players you pay a price. that's what the nfl wantious to know. we have details of a huge penalty announced today. we're watching the standoff between police and the shooting suspect in toulouse, france. we're going to go back there live. you're looking at live pictures and there are developments unfolding right now. our neighbors... and our communities... america's beverage companies have created a wide range of new choices. developing smaller portion sizes and more low- & no-calorie beverages... adding clear calorie labels
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president obama is putting a spotlight on his energy policy today as his republican opponents try to blame film hear
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his high gas prices. breanna keilar is traveling with the president. president obama took his energy message to the middle of nowhere. >> long as i'm president we're going to develop every available source of energy. that is a promise that i'm making to you. >> boulder city, nevada, where one of the nation's largest solar plants produces enough power for 17,000 homes. as americans feel the pain at the pump, the president has highlighting what he describes as his all of the above energy strategy. the strategy that relies on producing more oil and gas here in america, but also more biofuels, more fuel-efficient cars, more wind power and as you can see, a whole lot more solar power. >> it's a whirlwind two-day energy tour. in nevada he made the case for his focus on renewable energy. next stop, malgemar, new mexico, at an oilfield on fed ral land,
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then to southern segment of the controversial keystone excel pipeline. a leader in energy-related technology. of course, it can't escape notice that three of the president's four stops are in battleground states as he faces republican attacks over gas prices. >> he has an energy policy that's very simple. he can sum it up in two letters, n-o. >> the president is deflecting some of that criticism on oil speculators and oil and gas companies. >> we have subsidized oil companies for a century. we want to encourage production of oil and gas and make sure that wherever we've got american resources we're tapping into them, but they don't need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gal know. >> big oil is firing back. >> for him to go to oklahoma, say state where no one believes
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he'll win in the presidential race is a clear signal he's trying to a sure the american people that he is doing what he can for energy production. unfortunately, the facts don't add up in his favor. >> the headline for the president's trip to oklahoma tomorrow will be that he will be using executive action to expedite infrastructure projects like oil pipelines and specifically, wolf, and most importantly something we broke here on cnn yesterday, he'll be telling federal agencies that they should be putting the southern segment of that keystone excel pipeline that begins in curbing, oklahoma, where he's going at the top of that list, wolf. >> breanna, we'll stay in close touch with you, as well. breanna keilar is one of our white house correspondent. it's one of the harshest punish ams doled out in the nfl. you'll hear his story and not in a good way. and a standoff under way right now with a suspected terrorist. you're looking at live pictures. we'll update you on what's going
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on. we're going there live. that's coming up next. re, the landscaping business grows with snow. to keep big winter jobs on track, at&t provided a mobile solution that lets everyone from field workers to accounting, initiate, bill, and track work in real time. you can't live under a dome in minnesota, that's why there's guys like me. [ male announcer ] it's a network of possibilities -- helping you do what you do... even better. ♪
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>> i want to go right back to toulouse, france. there is a standoff with a shooting suspect. our diana magnate is on the phone. we are looking at live pictures from the scene. it's obviously the middle of the night and getting late over there. the negotiations with the suspect in this apartment, they've been going for more than 18 hour, but as you point out he's well armed. what do we know right now? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, we're still anticipating some kind of raid in the coming hours.
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the lights have gone off in the neighborhood which is always a precursor, the police tell us, to a nighttime raid. we hear the electricity is being turned off. some of the internet connections and the gas has been turned off to the various homes surrounding the apartment where mohammhamme based just to prevent any kind of explosion that he might initiate. we don't know if he has explosives in the house himself. the police have obviously been trying to get him to come out and surrender himself and at various points over the course of the day he said that he would, but that is not apparently what he has decided to do, but we do know that he said that he is not a martyr. he doesn't want to kill himself. he's not on some kind of a suicide mission despite the fact that he is a self-proclaimed al qaeda affiliate. so we wait to see how the police are going to respond obviously
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in the raid that happens when this whole thing commenced at 3:00 a.m. this morning, two policemen were injured when the suspects returned fire on them or fired at them, in fact, and not seriously, but tharn injured and that is yet police are treating this whole operation with the utmost caution, but there are hundreds of police here, anti-terror commando squads ready to go in, and we don't even know if possibly the operation is under way. you know, the police are managing the press in in very carefully managed positions so we don't have much of a viewpoint on the house itself or we can see at the moment is that there is darkness in the area where he is holed up in his apartment, wolf. >> we'll stay in very close touch with you, diana. thanks very much. i want to point out president obama called president sarkozy of france from aboard air force one just a little while ago. president obama underscored the
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american people stand shoulder to shoulder with our frank allies and friends in this trying name. the suspect, mohammed merah, 23 years old. we'll keep monitoring the story and bring you updates as they become available. it's no surprise the new orleans saints are being punished. players on the team actually profited from injuring people, but the scope of the punishment is unlike any the nfl has ever seen. stand by for that.
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when we first learned that the new orleans saints players were being paid to injure other players, we knew the league would come down hard. the penalties the nfl is handing down to the saints organization are unprecedented. let's bring in cnn's ed laugh endara. explain the punishment. >> the punishment has been handed down against the new orleans saints is severe. historic in many ways. it will affect the team for many years to come. the new orleans saints for this bounty program where they were paying, some players were paid up to $1500 to knock opposing players out of the game. the saints have been fined half a million dollars and lost their
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second-round picks in 2012 and 2013. the head coach, a beloved figure in the city of new orleans, sean payton, suspended for the upcoming entire season. mickey loomis is suspended for eight games. the defensive coordinator of the rams is suspended indefinitely. the saints assistant coach is suspended. he did not announce the penalties for the players. he is waiting to hear back from the players to talk with them about it. those punishments will be decided. greg williams issuing a statement saying he is apologizes for his involvement as it is, quote, not a true reflection of my values as a father or a coach or reflective of the great respect i have for this game and its core principle of sportsmanship. >> all of us nfl fans shocked
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indeed. >> let's go back to jack for the cafferty file check. >> they hurt the city of new orleans doing that stuff. the city rallied around that football team as a sign of something positive after katrina. now, they have gone and disappointed everybody. the question, is the decline of america schools putting national security at risk? brian writes, it puts everything at risk. we are already seeing the consequences of uneducated voters and the people they elect. ash writes, it is almost certainly a threat. where do we stand when we lack the intelligent workforce to lead us through new breakthroughs in science and technology? there is also the concern of the dumbing down of our general public who too quickly believe anything said offhand by politicians or on the news with little or no fact-checking. we are an entertainment society and it il with be the end of us if we don't make changes. ted writes, i'm sorry but i thought i heard the president
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say that union teachers are the best in the world. this is what happens when you can't fire bad teachers because of union protection. jim in california writes, we are living the consequences of no child left behind. steve in philadelphia, it is putting more than our national security at risk. but our entire way of life. imagine a whole generation of undereducated, unmotored s citizens that never understand. rick perry wasn't aware that there were nine supreme court justices. he wanted to be in charge of national security and abolish the department of education. that is a glaring failure. mark in oklahoma, of course, you see a bunch of fat, lazy slobs that grow up with no sense of duty to country defending us one day. all most kids wanted to are expensive tennis shoes, the latest filthy rap cd and to plan
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their next party. wolf? >> thank you. there are some new images that you can never get out of your mind. these two firemen putting out a fire in dresses may be one of them. create jobs in america. oil sands projects, like kearl, and the keystone pipeline will provide secure and reliable energy to the united states. over the coming years, projects like these could create more than half a million jobs in the us alone. from the canadian border, through the mid west, to the gulf coast. benefiting hundreds of thousands of families throughout the country. this is just what our economy needs right now.
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>> bad timing for two firemen in minnesota. >> if you think fighting a car fire could be a drag, imagine fighting a car fire in drag. two burly firefighters in gowns are in the pink. >> did you realize you were fighting a fire in a dress? >> it kind of dawned on me in the middle of fighting it. >> when did it dawn on ben wearing the green gown? >> i remember looking over to my right and seeing people with cell phones up to their face. i thought, oh, my gosh. >> reporter: the firefighters didn't have much choice. the sedan, minnesota volunteer firefighter department had a float in a nearby town. the firefighters dressed up to promote a beauty pageant they hold every year as a fund-raiser
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when a pickup truck caught fire, they leaped into action, even if it meant fighting not just fire but falling straps on ted's gown. as for ben -- you didn't have trouble with your straps? >> that's because i didn't have any. >> reporter: he wore a strapless accessorized with the hose. >> he did a great job handling the hose in his pretty green dress. >> fire chief has a name for his men. >> i call them my girls now. >> reporter: they may look like the rue pals of firefighters but they managed to put out the blaze in a couple of minutes. the chief points out though they lack normal protective gear, they played it safe and stayed focus. >> these guys could stand out there in underwear and wouldn't care, they are that way. >> some angles were less than flattering. still, you looked very pretty. the prettiest firemen i ever saw. >> one burning question remains, gentlemen, who were you